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Popcap the Question

I can’t decide whether this is cute, or trite, or so cute it becomes trite then back to cute then back to trite, and so on until I’m sobbing and screaming at the same time.

What it certainly is is smarter than anything I’d ever think of. A canny fella has managed to hack Popcap’s Bejeweled to propose to his casual game-lovin’ girlfriend. Thanks to a month of New Jersey software engineer Bernie Peng’s code-tinkering, the match-3 game would display a ring and message when Tammy Li hit a certain score. Given today’s litigious climes, it’s the kind of tale I almost expect to end with Bejewelled’s publisher suing Bernie for cracking their game, but in this case Popcap are picking up the bill for the Pengs’ honeymoon and sending over a sackload of copies of Bejeweled to hand out at the wedding. “Most video game companies would frown on people manipulating their games,” said Popcap’s Garth Chouteau, but it won him a woman. As a bunch of geeks, we have to say, ‘Bernie, hats off to you.'”

They also have to say “wheeee! Money!”, as I can only imagine they’re profiting healthily from thousands of people hearing about this story on mainstream news, duly cooing ‘awwww’, then googling for Bejeweled. What? Yeah, I’m a hopeless cynic. C’mon, I can’t post a sweet story about love’n’stuff without saying at least something venomous.

Edit- turns out the story’s from back in January, but the Popcap involvement is new. Also seems Bernie didn’t hack the game, but actually coded an entire new version of it for Nintendo DS. “Third party profits from Bejeweled clone” – now that’s a rather more familiar tale, eh?

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Alec Meer

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Ancient co-founder of RPS. Long gone. Now mostly writes for rather than about videogames.

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